When the United States sent most of its young men off to fight in World War II, it created a shortage in the nation’s work force. As Time points out, one the areas most affected by the lack of labor was the farming industry, which needed as many hands as it could to help when harvest season approached. To balance out the shortage, the U.S. started the Bracero program, which legally allowed Mexican campesinos – farm workers – into the country. While the Bracero program provided many Mexican farm workers with better wages than they likely would have earned in Mexico, discrimination and exploitation were still part of the daily life.
The Bracero program began in 1942 and lasted until 1964.
— Maryland History Day (@MDHistoryDay) February 23, 2017
In 1957, photographer Sid Avery, known for his work with celebrities, was given an assignment to capture life for these farm workers. The photos were published in the “Saturday Evening Post,” but afterwards the photos remained unpublished in any form and were basically lost for the last 60 years, Time reports.
Thanks to MPTV and Time, actual prints of these long forgotten images are now seeing the light of day, and they are providing a rarely seen glimpse into the world of the Bracero program. Time has several of these images available to check out, which we highly recommend doing.